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J Gen Intern Med. 2006 Sep;21(9):907-14.

Creating enduring change: demonstrating the long-term impact of a faculty development program in palliative care.

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  • 1Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 01984, USA.



Improved educational and evaluation methods are needed in continuing professional development programs.


To evaluate the long-term impact of a faculty development program in palliative care education and practice.


Longitudinal self-report surveys administered from April 2000 to April 2005.


Physician and nurse educators from North America and Europe. All program graduates (n = 156) were invited to participate.


Two-week program offered annually (2000 to 2003) with 2 on-site sessions and 6-month distance-learning period. Learner-centered training addressed teaching methods, clinical skill development, and organizational and professional development.


Self-administered survey items assessing behaviors and attitudes related to palliative care teaching, clinical care, and organizational and professional development at pre-, postprogram, and long-term (6, 12, or 18 months) follow-up.


Response rates: 96% (n = 149) preprogram, 73% (n = 114) follow-up. Participants reported increases in: time spent in palliative care practice (38% preprogram, 47% follow-up, P < .01); use of learner-centered teaching approaches (sum of 8 approaches used "a lot": preprogram 0.7 +/- 1.1, follow-up 3.1 +/- 2.0, P < .0001); and palliative care topics taught (sum of 11 topics taught "a lot": preprogram 1.6 +/- 2.0, follow-up 4.9 +/- 2.9, P < .0001). Reported clinical practices in psychosocial dimensions of care improved (e.g., assessed psychosocial needs of patient who most recently died: 68% preprogram, 85% follow-up, P = .01). Nearly all (90%) reported launching palliative care initiatives, and attributed their success to program participation. Respondents reported major improvements in confidence, commitment to palliative care, and enthusiasm for teaching. Eighty-two percent reported the experience as "transformative."


This evidence of enduring change provides support for the potential of this educational model to have measurable impact on practices and professional development of physician and nurse educators.

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